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Yarra Trams

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Yarra Trams is a tram operating company in Melbourne, Australia. It is owned by the French companies Transdev and ALSTOM. Yarra Trams commenced operations in 1999, initially operating less than one half of the network.

After the collapse of M>Train and M>Tram in 2002, Yarra Trams took over the whole Melbourne tram network, with a network spanning 245 km and over 1,700 tram stops. It is the third biggest tram network in the world and has over five hundred trams in service, including 95 newer Citadis and Combino vehicles.

Yarra Trams employs over 1,100 tram drivers and its trams run for nearly twenty hours per day. 141 million trips were taken from 2002-2003, rising to nearly 150 million this year.

In 2003, Yarra Trams was criticised for removing seats from some services in order to improve disability access and provide more space during peak hour. After privatising Melbourne's public transport system in 1996, the Jeff Kennett government presided over the removal of Melbourne's famous tram conductors ("connies") and their replacement with automated ticket machines. Some public transport groups believe that conductors should be re-instated on all services.

The Public Transport Users Association is vocal critic of Yarra Trams and of the Melbourne public transport network generally. In 2003 Yarra Trams attempted to prevent them from distributing what it saw as untrue brochures about seat removal on services. However, Yarra Trams is steadily improving its government-imposed performance standards under its present CEO, French-born Hubert Guyot.

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